'Titans of the Ice Age 3D' opens at Imax Theater

photo A scene from "Titans of the Ice Age 3D."

IF YOU GO• What: "Titans of the Ice Age 3D"• When: Opens Friday, Oct. 3; showtimes at noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m. daily, with additional shows at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays• Where: Imax Theater, 201 Chestnut St.• Admission: $9.95 adults, $8.50 children 3-12• Phone: 800-262-0695• Website: www.tnaqua.orgDID YOU KNOW?In 1971, workers unearthed a prehistoric cave system in downtown Nashville that contained the fossilized remains of Smilodon Fatalis, an extinct species in the tiger family. Radiocarbon dating indicated the specimen, which had huge fangs, was alive around 9,500 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Today, the Nashville Predators feature the toothy prehistoric cat as the team's logo.Source: Tennessee Aquarium

The gigantic gomphotheres may look like elephants, but they could rip Dumbo and Babar apart and eat them for breakfast.

Gomphotheres have tusks as long as Toyotas, and they roamed Ice Age Tennessee. Chattanoogans can see them in 3-D as they hunt and fight other prehistoric beasts and thunder across the mountains in "Titans of the Ice Age 3D," opening Friday, Oct. 3, at the Tennessee Aquarium's Imax Theater.

Aquarium communications manager Thom Benson says that all the monsters in "Titans" roamed Tennessee in the Ice Age, including a saber-tooth tiger that is about four times bigger and stronger than tigers of today, along with herds of mammoths and mastodons, hairy giants that weighed nearly 9 tons. All lived during the late Pleistocene epoch some 12,000 to 20,000 years ago.

At the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Dr. Nicholas Honerkamp, UC Foundation professor of anthropology, can show his students a mastodon deciduous tooth that was unearthed in Charleston, Tenn.

"It's possible that more fossil records are beneath our feet in this area," he says in a news release, "but because we are located within the Tennessee River valley, any remains from that era could be 40 or more feet down."

To re-create the vanished scenery of the Pleistocene era, "Titans" filmmakers used state-of-the-art, ultra-high-definition, computer-generated imagery, otherwise known as CGI technology. The backdrops on which the drama unfolds were shot on location in Yellowstone National Park, the Northern Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. The long-extinct mammals populate this world in photorealistic detail, alongside Paleolithic humans, played by native Iñupiat and Yup'ik Alaskans.

The movie is 45 minutes long and is scheduled for the Imax through February. In addition to examining the prehistoric past, the film contemplates the havoc that will result if climate change continues unabated.

Contact Lynda Edwards at ledwards@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6391.